Living in a three-generation home, Lorena Lopez knows the importance of getting every family member vaccinated against COVID-19 – both young and old alike. “It’s not only adults or the elderly who catch it, it's also children,” Lorena said of the virus. She stressed the importance of not leaving out children from her COVID-19 protection plan, “If there’s a way to protect my kids, I’m going to do it.”
Lorena is caretaker to her two nieces, a fifteen-year-old and a nine-year-old, and they all live with her parents who are in their sixties and seventies. Despite the heavy push to protect the elderly amid the pandemic, she knows that COVID-19 poses the same risk to children. “The risk is there for children, and if the vaccines help protect my kids then why wouldn't I want it. You know? Seems like a no-brainer.” In order for her family and nieces to get back to their normal, bustling life, everyone will need to come together to get vaccinated, young people included.
In May 2021, the CDC approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 and up. Rigorous testing has gone into the approval process, but some parents will still have questions. “The science says it's safe, and I trust the science,” Lorena said in response to those who are hesitating to vaccinate their children. “They wouldn’t just say anything – the CDC needs data to support their choices. I trust the science that shows that the vaccines are safe.”
Aside from wanting to do right by her kids and protect them in the ways she can, the virus poses an additional risk to her family, “My little one has a history of asthma, so I feel like if she were to catch COVID-19 it would probably make her very sick.” To her, the vaccine provides hope and relief against something that has been a constant threat to her and her family for the past year. Reflecting on the need for our whole community to come together to vaccinate, she added, “It is safe. If there’s a way to prevent this virus, I’m doing it. It’ll help us all get back to our lives.”